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First-Place Chelsea Look To Increase Sizable Lead Against Derby Rivals Arsenal

We’re only six weeks into the new Premier League season, and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea already has the look of champions.

Diego Costa

We’re only six weeks into the new Premier League season, and Jose Mourinho’s men already have the look of champions. Chelsea has scored a league-best 19 goals, conceded seven goals against and their plus-12 goal difference more than doubles that of last season’s title winners Manchester City or this weekend’s opponents Arsenal.

Chelsea has all the ingredients needed to lift the Premier League title. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has established himself as a world-class keeper. Their back four of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta has been rock-solid. Mourinho’s major summer signings – Spanish midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas and goal-machine Diego Costa are paying off handsomely for the Blues.

For all the talk of the defensive-minded Mourinho “parking the bus” last season, Chelsea have been an entertaining side, scoring a remarkable 26 percent of their shots this season.

On Sunday, derby rivals Arsenal will visit Stamford Bridge. The Gunners blitzed a defensively-poor Galatasaray side for four goals in their midweek Champions League meeting. Striker Danny Welbeck scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-1 thrashing at the Emirates Stadium. Galatasaray supporters responded by destroying hundreds of seats at Arsenal’s home ground.

WELBECK IS A MAN ON FIRE, BUT CHELSEA ARE STINGY AT HOME

Welbeck has been in fine form lately, scoring six goals in his last six matches for Arsenal and the English national team. Scoring against Chelsea will prove a difficult task. Chelsea has kept nine clean sheets in their last 11 home games.

It would be hard to imagine Welbeck replicating his strong performances against the blue wall that is Chelsea’s formidable back four.

MOURINHO’S MIND GAMES AND SUPERIORITY OVER WENGER

“The Special One” has never lost to Wenger. Mourinho has won six times, drawn five times and has not suffered a defeat against Wenger’s Arsenal.

Last season, the brash Chelsea manager sensationally branded Wenger as a “specialist in failure.”

Mourinho refused to apologize ahead of this weekend’s meeting. The outspoken Portuguese manager’s mind games seem to get under the skin of Wenger.

Before the new season, Mourinho was asked if he felt under pressure at Chelsea. He took another opportunity to take a shot at Wenger.

“Why? Some managers have 10 years to win something,” Mourinho said.

Aside from the mind games, what hasn’t changed over the years is that Arsenal has continually lacked leaders in the midfield. That wouldn’t have been a problem had Wenger pushed to sign Fabregas.

EX-GUNNER FABREGAS TO HAUNT FORMER CLUB

Wenger will rue not re-signing Fabregas from Barcelona. Mourinho and Chelsea swooped in to sign Fabregas during the summer, and the Spanish playmaker has been an instant hit at Stamford Bridge.

Fabregas has contributed six assists in six Premier League matches since joining Chelsea. The Fabregas-Costa connection has proven deadly for opposition clubs.

A player who can dominate the midfield like Fabregas is the difference between Chelsea and Arsenal. For all the flashy, stylish football executed by the Gunners – they’ve lacked a big-game top-class central midfielder.

Expect Fabregas to play a big part in a Chelsea victory this weekend.

WEEK SEVEN PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS:
Last week’s predictions can be viewed here.

WEST BROM AT LIVERPOOL (Saturday, 10:00 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 West Brom.

STOKE CITY AT SUNDERLAND (Saturday, 10:00 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Sunderland.

BURNLEY AT LEICESTER CITY (Saturday, 10:00 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Leicester 1-0 Burnley.

CRYSTAL PALACE AT HULL CITY (Saturday, 10:00 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Palace 1-1 Hull.

NEWCASTLE UNITED AT SWANSEA CITY (Saturday, 10:00 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Swansea 2-1 Newcastle.

MAN CITY AT ASTON VILLA (Saturday, 12:30 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Man City 3-0 Aston Villa.

EVERTON AT MAN UNITED (Sunday, 7:00 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Man United 2-1 Everton.

ARSENAL AT CHELSEA (Sunday, 9:05 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal.

SOUTHAMPTON AT TOTTENHAM (Sunday, 9:05 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Spurs.

QPR AT WEST HAM UNITED (Sunday, 11:15 AM Eastern Time)

Prediction: West Ham 3-1 QPR.

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